Rajya Sabha members resumes discussion on the Union Bugget on Tuesday morning.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday pulled up members of the Upper House for low attendance on the last day of the first half of the Budget Session.
The session will now break for a five-week recess.
M Venkaiah Naidu’s comments come a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) issued a three-line whip to its members asking them to be present in the Rajya Sabha to support the stand of the government while the House debates over the Union Budget.
The BJP, in the whip, had informed its Members of Parliament that some very important legislative work will be brought to the House on Tuesday to be discussed and passed.
“Some political parties issued whip for the health of the house because today is the last day. We have been seeing attendance is very less and it is sending a very wrong message as if members are not interested in the Budget and in the House,” Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said at the start of the session on Tuesday.
“That is why the leader of the opposition (LoP) and the Leader of the House asked if they can issue a whip. I said I will be happy if whip is issued regularly throughout the session so that members will be there,” added Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu .
Earlier on Monday the House skipped Zero Hour and Question Hour today to give allot enough time for a discussion on the Union Budget.
Initiating the discussion on Monday, Congress MP and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in his speech criticised the government’s handling of the economy.
He said rising unemployment and falling consumption was making India poorer.
Stating that the government refuses to admit its mistakes, he listed demonetisation of old 1000 and 500 rupee notes as well as hurried implementation of the Goods and Services Tax as steps that ruined the economy.
The former Finance Minister accused the government of living in denial and said that the economic growth had fallen for an unprecedented six consecutive quarters.
The BJP, however, countered the criticism of the union budget, saying it fulfills the aspirations of the people and the government is performing better on all parameters as compared to the previous UPA regime and has enumerated schemes for all sections of society.
The Modi government is better on all parameters compared to the 10-year rule of the UPA led by the Congress, BJP MP, Arun Singh said citing key macro-economic data to prove his point. He said UPA-2 had passed resolution in both Houses that inflation would be controlled in 100 days, but failed.
He claimed that Modi government has successfully controlled prices.
On the criticism of the Budget that it has nothing for farmers, Singh said Rs 2.83 lakh crore has been committed for farmers’ welfare.
The BJP also highlighted the Budget proposals of dedicated trains and flights for transportation of agricultural products.
Besides, the government is committed to double farmers’ income, and has been substantially increasing MSP as compared to Rs 50-100 hike given by the UPA government, he claimed.
The BJP MP further said the previous government was full of economists and experts, still the credit growth of banks at 30 per cent was much higher than the actual GDP growth. He blamed diversion of funds and “phone banking” for the huge rise in credit growth.
Singh said the Budget has a detailed roadmap to make India a USD 5 trillion economy, as he exuded confidence that the country will become the world’s fourth largest economy soon.
TMC MP, Manas Ranjan Bhunia accused the government of depriving the poor of employment opportunities generated from the MNREGA as it has cut expenditure under the scheme and alleged that it is selling out precious assets of the country.
He said rise in unemployment, slowdown in agriculture and slump in industrial sector were among factors behind the deceleration in the GDP growth. He added that the BJP had promised to provide 2 crore jobs each year and asked the government to provide details of 12 crore jobs given.
Bhunia said the government was not in a mood to admit its mistakes and states have not been paid lakhs of crores of Rupees due to which they are suffering financially.
“The country is in a serious situation and this government is creating instability and unrest in our system,” he said, alleging the government wants to destroy the basic structure of industrialisation.
“This government is tremendously hungry for finances and is selling out PSUs. They want to destroy the basic structure of industrialisation. LIC is being sold out and a situation has been created by this government to sell out LIC which has no insurance. They are going to sell out Air India, BSNL and MTNL,” Bhunia alleged.
A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) welcomed the budget, saying it is growth oriented.
He said at a time when the entire world is suffering from slowdown and unemployment in the US and banks in China are collapsing, India is doing well. He said only two countries US and China are today competing with India.
“The slowdown and banking crisis are global factors,” he said, adding “our prime minister has created awareness in the country which is the real empowerment of Indians”.
He said due to this the psychological barrier of the poor has been removed and Narendra Modi is the leader who has taken care of interests of all sections by not signing the RCEP agreement.
“He is taking decisions and implementing them from the common man’s point of view”, he said.
(With inputs from PTI)